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Pak govt not to claim Jinnah House in Mumbai
January 17, 2008 17:47 IST
The Pakistan government has abandoned the idea of claiming the Jinnah House in Mumbai, to open a consulate in India's financial hub, as it feels the building is a personal property.
Though Pakistan had previously expressed an interest in claiming the Jinnah House, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told The News daily that the government has abandoned the idea.
He avoided further comment on the issue as it is a matter of "emotional attachment for Pakistanis and Indian Muslims".
Sources in Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said the government also has no plans to back the country's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah's daughter Dina Wadia's efforts to gain possession of the building.
Wadia, the only child of Jinnah, and her industrialist son Nusli Wadia, recently filed a petition under the Right to Information Act with India's Central Information Commission to obtain all documents pertaining to the Jinnah House.
The sources said, "Keeping aside the sentimental value of Muslims of the subcontinent, it is clear that the Jinnah House was the personal property of Quaid-i-Azam (Jinnah) and not of the Pakistan government".
They said the Pakistan government also has no plans to move the international court of justice or litigate in Indian courts.
Pakistan's Director of the Department of Archeology and Museums, Qasim Ali Qasim, said the issue of preserving the Jinnah House can be settled only through bilateral arrangements with India.
"We, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, can forward recommendations to the Foreign Office to take up the matter with the Indian government," he said.
Qasim said the Culture Ministry could ask the Foreign Office to sign a memorandum of understanding with India to preserve the Jinnah House.
"As far as my information is concerned, there is no such move but it may be possible in the future, subject to the willingness of the Foreign Office," he added.
He also said that there is no international law under which Pakistan can take possession of the Jinnah House. "We cannot challenge India to get possession of the Jinnah House because it is within their territory."
The sources in Pakistan's Foreign Ministry also said that the government could not become party to the dispute over the Jinnah House because "India had told us that since there is no heir of the property under the local laws, it was declared as evacuee property or property left behind by those who went to Pakistan after the partition in 1947."
The sources claimed that India did not want to hand over possession of the Jinnah House for use as a Pakistani consulate either on rent or on ownership basis.
The Jinnah House, which stands on a 2.5-acre property in the posh Malabar Hills area of Mumbai and was built in 1936, holds deep sentimental value for the people of Pakistan. In 1948, it was leased to the British Deputy High Commission, which occupied it till 1982.
Dina Wadia and her son have told the Indian government that they consider Pakistan's claim on the house as inappropriate. Nusli Wadia stated that the house has absolutely nothing to do with Pakistan and it was his grandfather's personal residence.
Before the partition of the subcontinent, the Jinnah House had been the venue of several historic meetings between Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi [Images].